Say hello to Bryson City, North Carolina, your gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains. If you’re looking for a smaller getaway than downtown Asheville, Knoxville, or Chattanooga, that's still surrounded by outdoor adventure, then Bryson City in Western North Carolina is your place. In town, you’ll find quaint shops and a small-town community feel among the local restaurants and shops. Outside, consider this among the best outdoor playgrounds in the region: whitewater rafting, zip lining, fly fishing, and mountain biking, are all nearby, not to mention incredible access to one of the most-visited nationl parks in the United States.
With endless trails and some of the best high waterfalls in Swain County, the area is a hiker's dream. One of our favorite must-see attractions is the Deep Creek area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is conveniently located just two miles from Bryson City. Want to take the scenic route? You can also take the Smokies By Rail, an incredibly picturesque trip that brings you to a unique perspective of Lake Fontana and the Nantahala River.
With an undeniable small-town charm paired with big mountain exploration, Bryson City is a hidden gem along North Carolina's section of the Appalachian Trail. The following are the best Bryson City cabin rentals—our top picks for fancy houses, luxe yurts, and log cabin rentals for lovers of the great outdoors.
Vibe: Out Of Office
This private, creekside cottage sits on five acres of land with a creek running through it. Get the R&R you deserve after strolling down main street, or exploring the high falls of GSMNP. Visitors take note: while there’s good cell service at this vacation rental cabin, you won’t find WiFi here. Plan on chatting with your travel buddy rather than catching up on those work emails while OOO.
Vibe: Golden Hour Galore
Cozy up for a crisp fall evening with unimpeded horizon views. This brand new vacation rental cabin is located 15 minutes away from Bryson City, and is at the center of all the region's best outdoor activities in Western North Carolina. Not only do you have lots to explore in the area, you also have some backyard adventures: walk throughout the neighborhood and you’ll find waterfalls, hiking trails, and more. Perks include modern amenities and a fire pit outside to stargaze after a long day of adventuring (and did we mention the unbeatable views?).
Vibe: Angler’s Paradise
Retreat to the trees in this one bedroom log cabin rental just outside of Bryson City in Western North Carolina. It's the perfect spot for fly fishers with several creeks and streams nearby. If fishing isn’t your thing, no problem—this luxury cabin for two also has easy access to hiking, biking and tubing within minutes of the home. And in classic mountain cabin fashion, this place offers a wraparound covered porch and a private hot tub, so you can enjoy the sunset and a soak when the day is done.
Vibe: Fun for Everyone
With 2,208 square feet of living space, the “Southern Comfort” Bryson City cabin rental offers plenty of room for full-family fun. Traveling with a group? Even better. This three bedroom cabin has plenty of space and at-home activities after a day of exploration with your group. Each room has its own experience—it’s the perfect place to start and end each day.
Vibe: Mod Containable
One of the most unique spaces on this list, the Appalachian Container Cabin was built out of shipping containers and featured on HGTV’s show Containables. This tiny home is located deep within the Nantahala National Forest, just off the Appalachian Trail. And with one queen bed and three bunk beds, plus a thoughtfully designed porch space with a rooftop deck, the small but mighty space has some of the best outdoor features we’ve seen. Kudos to the architect!
Vibe: The Forest Dweller
This yurt is 25 minutes from the nearest town, but don’t let that deter you from staying in such a scenic forest hideaway. It's one of four yurts on the property but privacy isn’t lacking, and neither are the interior amenities—the rental is comfortably furnished, has a fully equipped kitchen and there's a hot tub on-deck. With a creek beside the abode, you’ll also get the constant white noise of running water to serenade you to sleep.
Vibe: Amongst the Hilltops
Located on twenty-five acres of private land and perched above the clouds at 4,700 feet, you’ll have 365 degree views of the surrounding hills. Consider this your own private-access gateway to the Smoky Mountains. The grounds include hiking trails, private ponds, and waterfall access. If you’re looking for seclusion, privacy, and unbeatable access to Cataloochee Ski Resort & Ranch, this is your place. Please note that the home does not include modern amenities such as air conditioning.
Vibe: Small yet mighty
The “Happy Shack Mountainside” tiny home is our kind of weekend getaway. With a minimalist design, covered porch, and plenty of windows to let the natural light fill the space, "shack" is hardly a good word for this home, which includes a small kitchen, three beds and a functional fireplace (plus a fire pit outside).
Vibe: Best Hot Tub Views in NC
Last but certainly not least, this massive luxury cabin features jaw-dropping floor to ceiling windows that overlook Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The “glass cabin” (as we call it) features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and astounding views from its every nook and cranny. Everything about this house makes us want to kick off our shoes and stay a while, from the full fireplace to the pool table in the loft, not to mention the hot tub, which comes with some of the best soaking views you can get. It’s pet-friendly, too, so be sure to bring Fido along on your adventure.